BTW- Old Man Luedecke, Viva Non, Unseen Strangers, Basic Nature, Highs, A Rebel Few, Ron Chapman, Blue Goose

Old Man Ludecke.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute

While Old Man Luedecke spent last winter in his backwoods cabin recording studio working on his latest record, Domestic Eccentric, this winter he left the confines of that cozy shelter for the highways of Canada, playing a string of tour dates. Spring is here and he is once again touring a JUNO Award nominated album, returning to Toronto for two dates on April 13 and 14 at Hugh’s Room with Tim O’Brien. To give viewers a glimpse of all that he leaves behind, Old Man Luedecke recently revealed a video for “Chester Boat Song”, filmed at his Chester, Nova Scotia cabin, in the heart of a cumbersome East Coast winter. “Let this video be a warning about how much snow we had in Nova Scotia when we made the album!” he claims.

Since then, “it's been a great year of touring and album making.” Recently, Luedecke was the recipient of a Music Nova Scotia Americana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year Award for "I Never Sang Before I Met You" and got invited to go play banjos and have dinner with Steve Martin, “which I haven't recovered from."

Out now and available on quality vinyl, Domestic Eccentric the album is mostly a record about home." It’s about what it means to be a still-youngish man, what it’s like to still be in love with the woman you started writing songs about and moved to the country with more than a decade ago, about what it’s like to watch your own babies grow to children, and about the joys and sorrows attendant upon the milestones of parenthood."

A record so replete with home seemed impossible to make anywhere else. So Old Man Luedecke fitted out his backwoods cabin, a hand-hewn affair he’d built himself from rough-sawn lumber, and hired a backhoe to make a 500 yard road through the record amounts of snow so he could bring in top-level recording gear. He invited Tim O’Brien to stay with his family for a week of snowbound collaboration. They have worked together before, and their increasing comfort in each others musical presence yielded spectacular results. “Tim is my favorite musician and working with him in a duet environment in a cabin at home was a waking dream.”

Tim O’Brien is a multiple Grammy Award winning roots multi-instrumentalist whose solo work and collaborations have made him one of the most respected American players working today. The two last worked together on Luedecke’s 2012 release, Tender Is the Night, which was nominated for a JUNO Award, listed for The Polaris Music Prize and won Album of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards.

Viva NonViva NonAnother Canuck shaking things up is Winnipeg synth-pop artist Viva Non (aka James Hofer). The unabashed romanticist drops debut album Pure Friday April15 and Viva Non celebrates the new release with a hometown Album Release Show on April 13th at The Handsome Daughter. Right after which Hofer and his eclectic electronica set off to tour Canada through to April 26th.

Pure is filled with romantic, synth-heavy pop music.This is a modern sounding album, and one largely influenced by 80's new wave/new romantic acts like New Order, Morrisey and OMD. Analogue synthesizers, drum programming and the dynamic voice of Hofer are the simple elements that make up the entirety of the album. Hofer has his musical roots in hardcore punk (playing guitar in Burn Your World, vocals in Extract). In 2013, he started playing with synthesizers and released ethereal post-punk music under the moniker The Will To Power. Through gaining experience in production and changing musical styles, The Will To Power eventually evolved into his current project Viva Non and it's been a rewarding creative process for Hofer.

"I'm proud of the record in its entirety," said Hofer. "I've been playing music in different bands for a long time and I've always just released demos and shorter EPs. Working on a full length is different. It has to be cohesive, but variant enough to remain interesting throughout. I accomplished my musical/aesthetic vision for this album and it feels great!"

The lead single from Viva Non's debut album Pure is the edgy track 'DFA'. The idea for the song comes from Hofer's strong love of artthat has an edge/attitude to it: "Even if it's a pop song, I very much appreciate an intentionally provocative element. This idea plays out so well in the work of certain fashion designers. A piece of clothing can be simultaneously beautiful and edgy, I love that. 'DFA' stands for 'Dark Fashion/Art'. It is essentially a love song for this concept."

VIVA NON TOUR DATES

April 14 - Saskatoon, SK - Vangelis Tavern
April 15 - Edmonton, AB - Local Omnivore
April 16 - Calgary, AB - The Red Room
April 21 - Toronto, ON - Smiling Buddha
April 22 - Ajax, ON - Rotilicious
April 23 - London, ON - The Foam Doam
April 26 - Peterborough, ON - The Spill

Unseen StrangersUnseen StrangersToronto string band The Unseen Strangers favor innovation over convention. For their current album, Stranger Places, the band challenged the limits of what they are capable of, setting out to explore the gamut of what can be done with strings. The result is a collection of songs that push bluegrass into new territory. Bandleader Adam Shier (who regularly steps in to play with bluegrass heroes like Foggy Hogtown Boys and the Slocan Ramblers) is a regular at the famous Bluegrass Brunch at Toronto's Dakota Tavern. He has married his love of traditional bluegrass with his background in rock and more improvised music. The result sounds a bit like Grateful Dead at a hoedown, and when Adam invites a bunch of horn players into the studio, like on "Old City Jail", things gets downright funky.

The Strangers have been doing well with the bluegrass/newgrass crowds in the US, playing numerous festivals south of the border the last couple of years, but they still fly under the radar in Canada. For Stranger Places, the band simplified their approach to the studio with quick, concise, live-off-the-floor sessions. The band teamed with producer Andrew Collins (Creaking Tree String Quartet; Foggy Hogtown Boys), recording the album over several months in 2015. The Unseen Strangers started in 2008 by Shier, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and driving force behind The Unseen Strangers. Adam fell in love with the sound of bluegrass going to school in Halifax and was soon recruiting his best friends to be in a bluegrass band. The band quickly recorded an album and won a Music Nova Scotia Award in 2009 for Bluegrass/Country Album of the Year.

The Strangers approach to bluegrass is open-ended and inclusive; they’ve been on the roster for several forward thinking American festivals, including Delfest, where they won the band competition in 2013. The Unseen Strangers continue to add to their diverse festival resume while consistently developing their sound both onstage and in the studio.

Basic NatureBasic NatureWinnipeg shoegaze/dream pop duo Basic Nature are tuning up for their first Canadian Tour of 2016! The tour will start with a hometown kick-off Apr.29th and then Basic Nature heads east for dates in Ontario and Quebec, including a show in Toronto for Canadian Music Week May 5. Launching the tour with a bang, Basic Nature are debuting new single 'Love Won't Always Be There' which will be included on their first full-length album coming later this year.

Claire Bones and Lizzy Burt formed Basic Nature in 2014 amidst one of the coldest winters Winnipeg had to offer in decades. Their passion for songwriting, sound and craft-making brought them together to complete the warm, lush and distorted songs on debut 6-song EP Circles & Linesreleased in May 2015. Following the release of Circles & Lines, Basic Nature successfully toured throughout Eastern Canada and were selected to open for shoegaze legends Swervedriver (UK) at the West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg. The buzz on Basic Nature continued to build throughout 2015, the EP received much critical acclaim in Canada and was selected for multiple year-end favourite lists including: Winnipeg Free Press, BeatRoute and Mixtape Magazine. The pair cite Slowdive's album Souvlaki as the main musical influence for their EP Circles & Lines, however, it does not drive the sound they create. The upcoming full-length album will be taking the duo in an slightly edgier direction and 'Love Won't Always Be There' is just a taste of what's to come.

"We are so excited to finally share this song," said Lizzy Burt. "There is a real blissful melancholy that comes with performing it, the song kind of acts as a release of pent up energy bringing relief in the best way, and we want to share that. It comes from a realization that even at our lowest points in life, we may not find what we think we are looking for. And that's okay, because we can know that deep inside ourselves we have everything we need."

BASIC NATURE // UPCOMING EASTERN CANADIAN TOUR DATES

April 29 - Winnipeg, MB @ The Handsome Daughter (Tour Kick-Off!)
April 30 - Thunder Bay, ON @ The Apollo
May 3 - Hamilton, ON @ Homegrown Hamilton
May 4 - Gatineau, QC @Minotaur
May 5 - Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddah (CMW)
May 7 - Montreal, QC@ Bad Lunch
May 8 - Montreal, QC@ Le Cagibi
May 10 - Ottawa, ON @ Pressed Cafe
May 11 - Peterborough, ON @ The Garnet
May 12 - London, ON @ Vibrafusion Lounge
May 13 - Guelph, ON @ 42 Jane
May 14 - Windsor, ON @ Phog Lounge
May 15 - Sault St Marie, ON @ Gore Street Café

HighsHighsAlt-pop group HIGHS premiered their debut full-length Dazzle Camouflage today via EARMILK in advance of the album's worldwide release this Friday.

Dazzle Camouflage, recorded over the span of four weeks with producer Luke Smith (Foals, Depeche Mode), is named after an experimental technique pioneered by the British Navy during World War I. Dazzle camouflage is unlike other forms of camouflage; as the intention is not to conceal, but to mislead. Recognized by its use of bright colours and unusual geometric patterns, dazzle made it difficult to judge the true nature of what lies beneath. This concept of 'hiding in plain sight' became an unexpected but obvious thread that ran through the album's eleven tracks.

The band's current single “I Do, Do You?” has seen over 20k views on Youtube, 150k streams on Spotify, and has been added in to rotation on Toronto’s INDIE88 alternative station.

I Do, Do You?' stays true to the sound cemented in their original self-titled EP from 2014, and floats along like a cool summer breeze.

Fast-becoming the darlings of Toronto’s EDM music scene, HIGHS’ much-acclaimed musical blend has taken them from bedroom demos to festival stages in a few short years. With its shape-shifting moods and catchy melodies, Dazzle Camouflage,can only take the band to higher Highs.

TOUR DATES

April 15 @ The Moustache Club, OSHAWA, ON (w/ Bravestation)
April 16 @ DSTRCT, GUELPH, ON (w/ Bravestation)
April 22 @ The Grad Club, KINGSTON, ON (w/ Bravestation)
April 23 @ The Oxford, PETERBOROUGH, ON (w/ Bravestation)
April 29 @ Rum Runners, LONDON, ON (w/ Bravestation)
April 30 @ Lee’s Palace, TORONTO, ON (w/ Bravestation, Presented by INDIE88)
June 24 @ Ottawa Jazz Festival, OTTAWA, ON
June 25 @ KOI Fest, KITCHENER, ON>

A Rebel Few A Rebel Few Hamilton's The Rebel Few will tell ya they’re not “making waves in the scene," not “from the ashes not “creating a sound for the generation” They’re a straight ahead no bullshit Rock n Roll band. This Steeltown stance derives from a band philosophy that as individuals, we’ve all dealt with the feelings of not belonging or fitting into the status quo.

We’ve always been seen as theb lack sheep and proud of it because we never liked the notion of simply conforming to what society has had us believe to be “normal”. A Rebel Few is badge for all those who feel abandoned by societies “standards” and are looking for refuge. A place where they belong and find strength in like minded souls.” says vocalist Chris Raposo.

A heavy hitting band with Southern rock DNA and an injection of groove, A REBEL FEW is comprised of ex-West Memphis Suicide members Chris Raposo (Vocals-Guitar), Barry Martin (Guitar), Chris Spiers (Drums), Adam Shortreed (Bass). Playing music to fill the void not only for themselves, but for those who connect with their sound, the band has already shared stage with Steel Panther, Jackyl, Skid Row, Killer Dwarfs, Anvil, Kill Devil Hill, Texas Hippie Coalition, My Darkest Days, The Headstones, and Danko Jones. Debut album ‘As The Crow Flies is set for release on April 22nd.

Raposo, the main lyric writer says “My lyrics mostly stem from a childhood of being shunned for not adhering to what everyone saw as normal and being persecuted for simply being who I was. The music has always been my therapist.”

"The album has a message: “Don’t let anything or anyone tell you can’t achieve what you want to,be who you are despite what others think you should be and don’t change who you are just to appease the masses.”

A REBEL FEW play Maxwell's Concerts & Events in Waterloo ON Apr.16. No tour info to date but check www.arebelfew.com.

Ron ChapmanRon ChapmanQuirk album of the week comes from T.O. filmmaking musician Ron Chapman and derives from his recent docs on Cuba, "The Poet of Havana" and "The Forbidden Shore." Titled As Worlds Collide, its 13 tracks from a Canuck singer/songwriter with the sensibilities that implies, bedded in mainstream Cuban music. The result is a sound looking to evoke both the downtown grit of Havana and chillin' by the ocean blue at Varadero. Fans of Nineties pop will recognize it as yacht rock in a Cuban state of mind, so the tasty melodies, supple bass lines and breezy delivery are givens and the summery vibes are very welcome this April.

The closest thing The 6ix has to a genuine blues roadhouse is the Blue Goose out Mimico way. If you've never been, you should at some point. It really is one of a kind.

April/May Lineup
Apr.17-Professor Piano & Mitch Lewis
Apr.24-Dwayne Laforme& Shakey Dagenais
May 1-Jake Chishholm & Jesse Whiteley
May 8-Jerome Godboo & Eric Schenkman
May 15-Lance Anderson & Terry Blersh
May 22-John Dickie & Ray Harrison
May -29-Paul Reddick & Greg Cockerill